Three Voyages for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and Narrative of an Attempt to Reach the North Pole, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about Three Voyages for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and Narrative of an Attempt to Reach the North Pole, Volume 2.

The Hecla arrived at Sheerness on the 20th of October, where she was detained for a few days for the purpose of Captain Hoppner, his officers, and ship’s company being put upon their trial (according to the customary and indispensable rule in such cases) for the loss of the Fury—­when, it is scarcely necessary to add, they received an honourable acquittal.  The Hecla then proceeded to Woolwich, and was paid off on the 21st of November.

ACCOUNT

OF

THE ESQUIMAUX

OF

MELVILLE PENINSULA AND THE ADJOINING ISLANDS:  MORE PARTICULARLY OF
WINTER ISLAND AND IGLOOLIK.

ACCOUNT OF THE ESQUIMAUX.

The number of individuals composing the tribe of Esquimaux assembled at Winter Island and Igloolik was two hundred and nineteen, of whom sixty-nine were men, seventy-seven women, and seventy-three children.  Two or three of the men, from their appearance and infirmities, as well as from the age of their children, must have been near seventy; the rest were from twenty to about fifty.  The majority of the women were comparatively young, or from twenty to five-and-thirty, and three or four only seemed to have reached sixty.  Of the children, about one third were under four years old, and the rest from that age upward to sixteen or seventeen.  Out of one hundred and fifty-five individuals who passed the winter at Igloolik, we knew of eighteen deaths and of only nine births.

The stature of these people is much below that of Europeans in general.  One man, who was unusually tall, measured five feet ten inches, and the shortest was only four feet eleven inches and a half.  Of twenty individuals of each sex measured at Igloolik, the range was: 

Men.—­From 5 ft. 10 in. to 4 ft. 11 in. 
  The average height, 5 ft. 5-1/3 in. 
Women.—­From 5 ft. 3-1/2 in. to 4 ft. 8-3/4 in. 
  The average height, 5 ft. 0-1/2 in.

The women, however, generally appear shorter than they really are, both from the unwieldy nature of their clothes, and from a habit, which they early acquire, of stooping considerably forward in order to balance the weight of the child they carry in their hood.

In their figure they are rather well formed than otherwise.  Their knees are indeed rather large in proportion, but their legs are straight, and the hands and feet, in both sexes, remarkably small.  The younger individuals were all plump, but none of them corpulent; the women inclined the most to this last extreme, and their flesh was, even in the youngest individuals, quite loose and without firmness.

Their faces are generally round and full, eyes small and black, nose also small and sunk far in between the cheek bones, but not much flattened.  It is remarkable, that one man T=e-a, his brother, his wife, and two daughters, had good Roman noses, and one of the latter was an extremely pretty young woman.  Their teeth are short, thick, and close, generally regular, and in the young persons almost always white.  The elderly women were still well furnished in this way, though their teeth were usually a good deal worn down, probably by the habit of chewing the sealskins for making boots.

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Three Voyages for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and Narrative of an Attempt to Reach the North Pole, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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